German police raid premises linked to right-wing extremists | News | DW | 25.04.2012
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German police raid premises linked to right-wing extremists

Police and state prosecutors say they have raided 20 residences and offices belonging to right-wing extremists in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, alledging 'significant crimes' including violence.

Police in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia conducted coordinated raids on alleged right-wing extremists early Wednesday, including the offices of a regional far-right political party.

Authorities searched 20 apartments and offices belonging to people linked to the far-right scene in the cities of Dusseldorf, Essen, Wuppertal and the small town of Radevormwald, reportedly making three arrests. State prosecutors and police in Cologne announced the raids.

A spokesman said the searches were focused on leaders of a group called Freundeskreis Rade (Rade Circle of Friends), an allegedly neo-Nazi group that prosecutors say has been attempting to build a criminal network.

Prosecutors said the group was suspected of "significant crimes" including the use of violence.

The raids also included a search of the offices of the small far-right party Pro NRW in Radevormwald. The party is fielding a slate of candidates in the upcoming state elections next month and is running on an anti-Islam platform.

The criminal potential of the far-right in Germany has been in the spotlight since authorities last year uncovered a neo-Nazi cell suspected of at least 10 murders and multiple bank robberies. The cell was able to evade authorities for more than a decade.

acb/pfd (AFP, dpa)